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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Sports star

Actor Harman Baweja may have crash landed with his debut film Love Story 2050,but he is confident of bouncing back,quite literally,this time around.

Written by Debesh Banerjee | January 27, 2009 12:20:27 am

Once bitten,actor Harman Baweja is now banking on Victory

Actor Harman Baweja may have crash landed with his debut film Love Story 2050,but he is confident of bouncing back,quite literally,this time around. His forthcoming venture Victory,to be released on January 30,has an important winning ingredient — it is about India’s obsession with cricket.

If his first film catapulted the 28-year-old into a futuristic world,his next launches him on the crease. Victory is directed by first-timer Ajit Pal Mangat,and has Baweja playing Vijay Shikhawat from a village in Jaisalmer,Rajasthan,who dreams of being part of Team India. Does the storyline sound familiar? Not to Baweja; he argues that Victory is far different from any other cricket movie. “It is more realistic,” he insists. “Every selection process,from club cricket to the Ranji Trophy to Team India,has been depicted in this film.”

It also has real-life cricketers pitted against him! Baweja squares off against 45 national and international-level cricketers like Brett Lee from Australia,Muttiah Muralidharan and Chaminda Vaas from Sri Lanka,Shoaib Malik from Pakistan and several Proteas boys from South Africa. But the man he hit it off with best was fellow Punjabi Harbhajan Singh. “We talked about everything from spinning to cricket to greasy Punjabi food,” laughs Baweja. To hone his own skills with the bat,Baweja trained for four months with Praveen Amre,a national-level batsman during the early 90s. The film also stars veteran actor Anupam Kher as Baweja’s father and Amrita Rao as his childhood friend Nandini.

In real life,though,Baweja is more a football fanatic than a cricket fan. “The only cricket I’ve ever played was the galli version,” he adds. “As a student,I represented Maharashtra twice,in 1996 and 1997,in long jump and 100 metres track events.”

But shooting for Victory at the Telstra cricket ground in Sydney and Wanderers in South Africa (where Indian won the T20 finals),enabled him to develop a fondness for cricket. “It is a very intelligent game. There is a very well-planned strategy involved when Muralidharan decides to bowl an off-break or when Brett Lee gives a slow delivery. I understood all these dynamics of the game during the filming,” he explains.

Films on sports have had a mixed response lately,for every Chake De,there’s a flop like Goal. But Baweja is thinking positive. “During Love Story,I was very nervous as it was a home production as well as my debut. With Victory,I am more excited than nervous,” he says.

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